Grooming, or pruning, a tomato plant means to remove small branches, called suckers, that develop in the "Y" between a branch and the main stem. Advantages to pruning include focusing growth on the fruit instead of foliage and limiting exposure to insects and disease. Indeterminate tomato varieties continue growing throughout the season and require staking. These varieties will benefit the most from pruning. Pruning results in healthier plants and is completed with little effort.
Prune indeterminate, staked tomatoes when the plant reaches 1 to 2 feet tall.
Pinch off suckers by hand or with sharp pruning shears when suckers are 1 to 2 inches long.
Prune the top of the plant toward the end of the season when the plants begin to outgrow their support. Pinch off just the suckers growing over the top of the support.
Water plants at soil level after pruning to keep soil out of the plant's open wounds.